Local partnership results in an abundance of nature based activities in community parks and sanctuaries on Florida's Space Coast.
For the past decade or so, The 16th Annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival has pretty much gone it alone. And they've been pretty successful, considering they've quickly grown into one of the largest birding festivals in North America attracting nature enthusiasts from around the world.
This year, SCBWF's organizers decided to partner with Brevard County Parks and Recreation and the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program to offer special programs and activities. According to Brevard Nature Alliance's director, Neta Harris, "the reason we decided to pull the local parks and rec into our festival was because we wanted to involve the local community, which would in turn foster a love for nature and wildlife in our own backyard." The collaboration, which will put a spotlight on community parks and sanctuaries,developed into almost two dozen nature-based activities for the general public. Here's a full list recently published by Brevard County Parks and Recreation:
- Little Hatchlings Migration Station," 10 a.m. - noon, Jan. 24. Free. Learn about bird migration, bird food and resting places. Barrier Island Center. To register, (321) 723-3556 by Jan. 22.
- Interpretive Canoe Trip, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Jan. 25. $15. A canoe trip in the Thousand Islands of Cocoa Beach. Tours launch at Ramp Road Park. To register, (321) 455-1385.
- Owl Program, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Jan. 24. $2. Learn about these fascinating birds. At Mims/Scottsmoor Library , 3615 Lionel Road, Mims, and 3-4 p.m., Jan. 28, at Port St. John Library, 6500 Carole Ave. To register, (321) 455-1385.
- Nocturnal Nature Hike, 6:30 p.m.-TBD, Jan. 25. Free. Join Naturalists on a night of discovery and exploration. Enchanted Forest Sanctuary. To register, (321) 264-5185.
- Gopher Tortoises, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Jan. 26. Free. Plants and animals in Florida rely on gopher tortoises, as do many Floridians. Enchanted Forest Sanctuary. To register, (321) 264-5185.
- Habitats, 10 a.m. - noon, Jan. 23. $4. A look at basic habitat types and healthy habitats. Includes boardwalk tour and meet and greet with animals. Erna Nixon Park. To register, (321) 952-4525.
- Owls, 10 a.m. - noon, Jan. 24. $4. A look at Florida's native owls followed by Owl pellet dissection, a boardwalk tour and meet and greet with animals. Erna Nixon Sanctuary. To register, (321) 952-4525.
- Making Tracks: How to Read & Interpret Wildlife Signs, 8-10 a.m., Jan. 25. Free. Early morning hike at Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary. Parrish Park, Scottsmoor. To register, (321) 264-5058.
- Intro to Kayaking for kids, 10 a.m.-TBD, Jan. 26. $20. Introduction to kayaking on shallow waters of Fox Lake Park. Instruction and equipment provided. Pre-registration required, call (321) 268-2655 or visit www.ADayAwayKayakTours.com
- Nature Walk at the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center, 8-10 a.m., Jan. 25. Free. A morning walk down the Moore Centers path of native trees and plants followed by a plant discussion in the pavilion, 10:30-11:30 a.m. To register, (321) 264-6595 by Jan. 24.
- "Bird of a Feather - Hike Together, 8-11 a.m. (meet at 7:45 a.m.,) Jan. 26. Free. Explore the barrier islands on a 2.5-mile forest hike. Maritime Hammock. To register, (321) 723-3556 by Jan. 24.
- Evening Owl Prowl, 6-8 p.m., Jan. 24. Free. Discover the wonder of Owls on a nocturnal observation journey. Sams House at Pine Island. To register, (321) 449-4720.
- Enjoying Life on the Indian River Lagoon Coast, 3-4 p.m., Jan. 25. Free. A PowerPoint slideshow in the circa 1875 Sams Cabin. Sams House at Pine Island. To register, (321) 449-4720.
- Orienteering/Scavenger Hunt, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Jan. 26. Free. A hike of the Sams loop trail. Sams House at Pine Island. To register, (321) 449-4720.
- Nature Nite, 7-8 p.m., Jan. 24. Free. Learn more about the marine world by participating in an interactive presentation and hands on crafts. Riverwalk Park. To register, (321) 433-4490.
- Celebrate Urban Birds, 4-6 p.m., Jan. 25. Free. Learn to identify the most common birds at your feeder and how to help track bird migrations. Riverwalk Park. To register, (321) 433-4490.
The 16th Annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival will take place January 23-28, 2013 at Brevard Community College in Titusville, Florida. Registration is only $20 and its still open. Act quickly because many of the festival's workshops and field trips fill up fast!